Septic Tank Inspections

The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 requires house owners to register their on-site waste water treatment systems and requires Laois County Council to keep and maintain a register of these systems, to carry out inspections and to take action where problematic systems are found.  Full details can be found here on:

• Duties of Property Owners:
• Registration
• Inspections
• Grant Scheme for Improvements
• Desludging

Duties of Property Owners

Owners of on-site waste water treatment plants (including septic tanks) are to ensure their system does not constitute a risk to human health or the environment (water, air or soil). They should ensure that the system does not create a nuisance through noise or odours. They are also obliged to register the system on a register of domestic waste water treatment systems on

In order to assist owners of on-site waste water treatment plants a number of information leaflets have been produced. These can be viewed here:


The deadline for registration of on-site waste water treatment plants was 1st February 2013. However, registration remains open and anybody who has yet to register their system should do so without delay at or the Council’s Motor Tax Office.

On registration owners of on-site waste water treatment plants will receive a certificate of registration. Please keep this certificate safe as you may be asked to produce this certificate by Laois County Council. This certificate covers a period of five years and will need to be renewed on expiry.

If you are selling a property with an on-site waste water treatment plant, you are obliged to pass on the certificate of registration to the purchaser of the property. The new owner is responsible for updating the ownership details on the register.


The EPA has prepared a national inspection program and Laois must conduct a minimum of 26 inspections before July 2014 (nationally, 1000 must be carried out within the first year).

The locations of these inspections have been chosen after going through a risk assessment program. The national inspection plan can be viewed at

Where an inspection is to be carried out under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012, the house owner will be given 10 working days notice. The inspection will be non intrusive (please see flyers above).  The owner of the on-site waste water treatment plant will be notified of the result of the inspection within 21 days of the inspection. Where issues have been identified, Laois County Council will issue an Advisory Notice, which will specify the works that should be carried out.

Grant Scheme for Improvements

The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government announced that grant assistance is available where a waste water treatment system failed an inspection carried out under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 if it was registered on or before 1st February 2013. This scheme is subject to income limits. Further details are available at,33607,en.pdf

It is important to note that where Laois County Council receives complaints concerning water pollution from a septic tank, the complaint will be investigated under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts and grant assistance will not be available.

If you are aware that you septic tank system is not functioning correctly, where laundry or sink waste is not entering the tank, where storm water is allowed to enter the tank or where effluent is piped directly to a stream or drain, Laois County Council reminds you that you are legally obliged to take corrective actions without delay. The Council discourage any person to wait for an inspection before doing the works. Where any person requests an inspection, the Council will regard this as a complaint and grant assistance will not apply.


On-site waste water treatment plants require regular desludging depending on their size and number of occupants in the house. Owners are required only to have them desludged by persons with a valid waste collection permit and shall keep a copy of the record of desludging for examination by Laois County Council.

A farmer is permitted to empty his own tank and spread it on his own land where the land is not grazed for a period of 6 months after land spreading.

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